Monday, December 31, 2007

Beth's Top 30 Albums of 2k7

30. The Pigeon Detectives – Wait For Me
29. Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, Angry Mob
28. Sondre Lerche – Phantom Punch
27. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
26. Mobius Band – Heaven

Mobius Band's sophomore album shows them experimenting in the blurry realm between indie rock and electronica. With electronic blips, canned beats, and monochromatic unemotional singing fused together with poppy arrangements, Mobius Band plays a brand of music that's hard to describe and equally hard to put down. I don't have a single favorite track on the album, so check out my favorite three: "Hallie," "Friends Like These," and "A Hint of Blood."

25. Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight
24. Winterkids – Memoir
23. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Trip The Light Fantastic

British pop stars don’t usually find their way onto my year-end list… that’s definitely more Dany’s style than mine. But Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s album is sooooooo good that it would be a crime to leave it off. All fourteen songs are party starters, the type of songs that get people moving on the dance floor and keep them there even after the booze stops flowing. Sure, it doesn’t veer into any new sonic territory—it’s basically your average disco pop dance album—but who cares?

22. Le Loup – The Throne Of The Third Heaven Of The Nations' Millennium General Assembly
21. Delorentos – In Love With Detail
20. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
19. Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures
18. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
17. Handsome Furs – Plague Park

The words from my review of Plague Park in April still hold true: "The band takes a decidely minimalist approach to song construction, relying on the addition and subtraction of repetitive layers of instrumentation to the mix as a mechanism for propelling the music forward (rather than say verse/chorus/verse). This contrasts with the more complex forms and musical intricacy laced throughout Wolf Parade's catalogue, though, interestingly, the end result is the same. Both Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade create music that ebbs and flows with kinetic energy, making it so that the songs feel new and exciting even after the fiftieth listen."

16. Elliott Smith – New Moon
15. Dartz! – This Is My Ship
14. Georgie James – Places
13. White Rabbits – Fort Nightly
12. 1900s – Cold & Kind
11. The Maccabees – Colour It In

The Maccabees were probably featured on Exitfare more than any other band this year. Rather than re-write the wheel, take a look at some of the things we've previously had to say about this great British export.

10.The Wombats – A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation

The Wombats really know how to turn a phrase. Much like their compatriot William Shakespeare, the band has a knack for writing lines that provide a witty, yet poignant commentary on life in the modern world. Two of my favorite examples are: “So with the angst of a teenage band, here's another song about a gender I'll never understand” (“Kill The Director”) and “I've just had the craziest week, like a party bag of lies, booze and then deceit” (“Moving To New York”). They’re not just lyrical geniuses though, the band also knows how to write a great riff, a catchy chorus, and put on an amazing live show. Although I wasn’t crazy about the mastering on A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation, the songs speak for themselves. This is easily the most thoroughly enjoyable album of the year.

9. Feist – The Reminder
8. The Rakes – The New Messages
7. Band of Horses – Cease To Begin
6. Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams is back in rare form, releasing his first album in nearly a decade that’s aces from start to finish. Easy Tiger doesn’t have any half finished songs, unrealized ideas, or throwaway filler tracks... just thirteen stunning songs spanning the gamut from alt-country to Americana to Adams’ best imitation of punk rock. The album is happier and more upbeat than any of Adams’ previous efforts, only delving into break your heart territory on the incredible album closer “I Taught Myself How To Grow Old.” It’s hard to pick a highlight, but I’d probably have to go with “The Sun Also Sets” which is propelled by a simple piano riff, huge crescendos, and contains one of Adams’ best vocal performances ever.

5. Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City
4. Editors – An End Has A Start

It took me a while to warm up to Editors’ An End Has A Start, because I was disappointed that there wasn’t a dance anthem as catchy as “Blood” or “Munich” on the entire disc. Once I got over my preconceptions of what the album should sound like, I realized that the record is incredible. Unlike other bands (cough, Hard-Fi), Editors stayed true to their sound on their sophomore album by packing densely layered instruments underneath lead singer Tom Smith’s characteristic throaty baritone. Unlike their previous album, however, An End Has A Start feels cohesive from start to finish due to the record’s continuing themes of love and loss, hope and fear that span the entire album. There are a lot of highlights, but my favorite track is “The Racing Rats”—a straight-ahead rock song with some of the best lyrics of the year.

3. John Vanderslice – Emerald City
2. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
1. Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future

I could write some long explanation of why I chose Klaxons' debut album, Myths of the Near Future, as my number one album of the year... but I won't. The album speaks for itself. Songs like "Golden Skans," "Atlantis To Interzone," and "Magick" are so completely new and inventive that bloggers had to invent a genre just to describe them (new rave). Overall, the young brats had a banner year--they won the Mercury Prize, wowed crowds around the world, sold a ton of records, re-introduced neon colors and bold shapes to hipster fashion, and probably best of all, guitarist Simon Taylor got engaged to CSS' Lovefoxxx.

But wait... there's more!

Top 5 EPs of 2007

1. Black Kids – Wizard of Ahhhs
2. Illinois – What The Hell Do I Know?

3. The Nightjars – Towards Light

4. Cut Off Your Hands – Blue on Blue

5. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Follow The Lights


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